For architect Eric Haesloop, the American barn is a simple structure with symbolism that runs deep. Gables of faded red lumber surrounded his hometown in Indiana, and the familiar shape has been a form his architecture firm, Turnbull Griffin Haesloop, has revisited in projects across northern California. So when a couple with three children approached him with a fallow piece of farmland in the Chileno Valley, just west of Petaluma, and the desire for an open, airy homestead, a certain silhouette popped into his head. But the LEED Platinum-certified Hupomone Ranch—with a name meaning, “joyful endurance and steadfastness”— took joy in subverting the rural standard.
“There are so many ways to think about buildings when you’re in this kind of landscape,” Haesloop says. “The barn provides this comfortable repose. We wanted to design in minimal, modern terms. The white gives it an abstraction—a taut, crisp quality.”
The slope of the barn-shaped structure’s roof, covered in AEP Span panels, echoes the hills on the horizon. Along with the two outcropping on the side of the home, which Haesloop calls “saddlebags,” the silhouette helps frame the landscape and sets up a dramatic entrance. After taking a road from the hills to the north into the valley below, guests open the sliding entrance doors and walk into the airy living room, with a glass wall providing fantastic views to the south. The opaque gives way to the nearly translucent.
LOCATION Petaluma, CA
Program New family home on a 160-acre ranch
Size 2,500ft 2
Certification LEED Platinum
Architect Turnbull Griffin Haesloop
General Contractor Sawyer Construction
Civil Engineer Adobe Associates
Structural Engineer MKM & Associates
Geotechnical Consultant Bauer Associates
Energy Consultant Loisos + Ubbelohde
Interior Erin Martin Design
LEED Consultant Michael Heacock + Associates
Landscape Architect Lutsko Associates
Countertops Carrera Marble
Kitchen Windows Blomberg Window Systems
Kitchen Sinks Franke
Kitchen Fittings Dornbracht
Kitchen Appliances Miele, BlueStar
Master Bath Tile Waterworks
Master Bath Countertop Carrera Marble
Master Bath Tub Agape
Bath Fittings Dornbracht
Bath Toilet TOTO
Bedroom Windows Blomberg Window Systems
Lighting RSA Lighting, Translite
Fan Big Ass Fans
Living Room Doors Liberty Valley Doors
Skylights Window Wasco Skylights Roof AEP Span
Exterior Siding Western Red Cedar
While the 21-foot high great room serves as a gathering place and hive of activity for the family, as well as the centerpiece of the roughly 2,500-square-foot second home, the volumetric space also plays a central role in the passive heating and cooling systems. Geothermal heating and radiant cooling in the concrete floor moderate the temperature year round. But it’s the well-considered interplay of cross-ventilating windows, energy modeling, massive circulating fans, skylights set up for passive cooling, and a white roof that work in concert to help cool down the home during warm stretches in the late summer.
The unobtrusive engineering gives the home, wrapped in simple cedar siding, incredible energy efficiency, exceeding Title 24 (the California Energy Code) by more than 50%. After analyzing a year of data, Haesloop found the home hit the 98 percentile of the 2030 challenge, meaning it’s 98% below average consumption for homes in the region.
The glass wall and sliding doors lead to a backyard, outdoor dining space with a fire pit, pizza oven, and a pool house, all ringed with wooden furniture and tables hewn from eucalyptus trees that used to dot the property. An angular pool house designed by Haesloop boasting a rooftop solar array adds to both the enjoyment of indoor-outdoor living and home energy efficiency.
“In California, as opposed to other parts of the country, there’s such a benign climate,” Haesloop says. “The nights get cool and the days can heat up, but if you calculate it right, you can get the building to largely take care of itself. It makes the whole indoor/outdoor lifestyle readily achievable here.” Along with the atypical interior design, which plays down rustic cliches in favor of sleekness and a massive print of a Mexican movie star, the whole project gives off an unfussy sophistication. “What was important to them was scale,” Haesloop says. “There are a lot of kids, the house gets used, but they wanted to keep it compact at a reasonable scale, especially considering they were enamored with the barn-house concept.”
When he first encountered the property, a fallow ranch dotted with collapsed structures and a broken feeding trough, he shared the owners appraisal that this was a plot with promise that just needed some editing. The simple barn structure created a center for sustainable family life, without overwhelming the home’s biggest natural asset. The resulting breezy lifestyle suggested by the minimalist home is a testament to how looking effortless often takes the most effort.
“When they enter, we want guests to view the house as a great frame,” Haesloop says. “But, then again, we’re not trying to be too literal here. It is a house, right?”